officially the Republic of Mauritius (French: République de Maurice), is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the island of Mauritius, Rodrigues (560 kilometers (350 mi) east), the islands of Agalega, and the archipelago of Saint Brandon. The islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues, and Réunion 170 km (110 mi) southwest, form part of the Mascarene Islands. The area of the country is 2,040 km2. The capital and largest city is Port Louis.
The environment in Mauritius is typically tropical in the coastal regions with forests in the mountainous areas. The temperature on the coastal areas varies between 22°C in winter and 34°C in summer. The sea temperature varies between 22°C and 27°C. In the central part of the island, the maximum daytime temperature varies from about 19°C in August to about 26°C in February. The western and northern regions are warmer and relatively drier than the East and
Most people in Mauritius are bilingual and are equally fluent in English and French. Creole and French are the main languages in the everyday environment and several oriental languages are also spoken.
Hinduism is the major religion at 48.5%, followed by Christianity 32.7%, Islam 17.3% and Buddhism 0.4% in terms of number of adherents, with other religions being at 0.2% andirreligiosity being at 0.7%. 0.1% refused to fill in any data.
In an island where people originate from a wide variety of places, the local cuisine is a testament to the influence of this melting pot. This produces remarkable results: in Mauritius, you can travel to all corners of the globe without leaving the table
Mauritian cooking is in a class of its own: it is a combination influenced by people of different cultures and cooking traditions. Mauritian people are adventurous with food, and are perfectly happy to eat Creole, Chinese, Indian or Muslim food.
Mauritian cuisine is proud of its past but is still firmly rooted in the contemporary world. A few leading chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Trois Gros brothers and Michel Ducasse have paid a visit to the island and have thus played a part in the creation of this top-quality cuisine.
If Mauritius had a national dish, this would probably be it. You’ll find stalls on the street selling dholl puris all over Mauritius, but the very best place to get them is Dewa in Rose-Hill (easily found – once you arrive in Rose-Hill, just ask anyone and they’ll know where it is). Dholl puris are thought to be derived from Indian flatbread, paratha. Indian immigrants to Mauritius couldn’t get the ingredients to make the bread on the island, and their substitute, a fried thin bread stuffed with ground yellow split peas, and served in a pair with bean curry, atchar and chutney.
Mauritian pineapples are sweeter and more delicious than South African ones. They’re best eaten on the beach in your swimming costume, with your hair still damp from your last swim in the warm Indian Ocean. There are pineapple sellers who cruise the beaches, ready to cut pineapples into easy-to-hold (and eat) treats.
With a strong Indian influence in its food, how can Mauritius not have great curry? However it’s not the curry you may be used to from Durban or India. Mauritian curry has quite a different flavour, although the base is similar – there’s garlic, onion, fresh curry leaves and turmeric. There isn’t one type of curry in Mauritius – you get everything from tomato-based Creole curries (typically not that spicy – chilli is served on the side) to Indian ones. Mauritian curries are served with rice or bread (faratha –see number 16), lentils and delicious accompaniments – various chutneys and achard (vegetable pickles made with mustard) as well as the ubiquitous mazavaroo (see number 7). While octopus curry wasn’t my favourite (I found the octopus a bit chewy for my liking), it’s a popular Mauritian dish and one you should try. The best place to get octopus curry, according to locals, is Chez Rosy near Gris Gris beach, on the southern coast of Mauritius.
Bois Cheri tea estate, in the south of the island, grows black tea, which they then mix with Ceylon tea imported from Sri Lanka, and vanilla flavouring imported from South Africa (of all places), to produce a delicious black vanilla tea. You’ll find it all over the island (and on Air Mauritius) but the best place to drink it is at the Bois Cheri cafe after a tour of the tea factory and a tea tasting. The cafe has incredible views – over the tea plantation fields, fringed with palm trees, and the southern coastline. Complement your cuppa with a tasty tea-infused treat such as tea sorbet, or papaya panacotta with tea jelly. Stock up on Bois Cheri tea from the shop to take home.
Anyway you want it: baked, grilled, fried, sauteed. Mauritius has incredible seafood – from local fish capitaine to calamari and lobsters. Mauritian cuisine pretty much revolves around seafood – whether it’s curries, stews, Chinese dishes or Indian, it’s seafood-heavy. Mauritius = pescatarian heaven.
Seriously. For hundreds of year, sugar was Mauritius’ currency. The island’s economy has diversified now, but sugar is still a main export, as the vast fields of sugar cane covering the island will attest to. Mauritius produces some of the world’s best sugar, which you may not realise as you tuck into your fifth treacly caramelised pineapple dessert. I mean, it just tastes like sugar, right? Wrong. The best way to try out Mauritius’ delicious sugars is at L’Aventure du Sucre, a fascinating sugar museum that offers a sugar tasting of around nine different types of sugars. L’Aventure du Sucre Find it off the highway near Pamplemousses towards the north (there’ll be a sign on your right hand side)
Mauritians eat chilli with everything. EVERYTHING. This includes fruit (think unripe mango with chilli in a bag) and baguettes as well as your regular curries and fish dishes. There’s a dish of chopped chilli or chilli paste (called mazavaroo) with pretty much every meal. As a chilli-lover I was a big hit with locals, who watched me eat bowls of noodles smothered in chilli paste without flinching or breaking into a sweat. ‘The Europeans never eat chilli like this!’ they exclaimed. At last, an eating talent! Pick up a bottle of mazavaroo as a fiery souvenir in one of the many markets on the island, or make your own at home with this easy recipe.
Gajak are Mauritian snacks, generally of the deep fried variety. You’ll find them being sold from glass boxes on the back of motorbikes and food stalls near markets, beaches and on the side of the road. Try samoosas, gateau aubergine (eggplant fritters), manioc goujons (cassava chips) and gateau patat (potato fritters). All this deep fried goodness works well paired with number thirteen.
Thanks to its Chinese population, Mauritius has delicious Cantonese food. I had the best dim sum this side of Hong Kong at First Restaurant in Port Louis. Here you’ll find typical Cantonese dim sum with Mauritian touches, such as shrimp and taro dumplings. Mauritians have made their own dim sum, called boulet – these are dumplings made from fish, prawns, or chou chou (a pear-shaped vegetable). Boulet are steamed and then eaten in a fish broth with lots of chilli (see number 5). Find boulet at streetside stalls.
This Mauritian dish is supposedly adapted from the Indian vindaloo, although there’s debate about this. It’s cooked with mustard, garlic, ginger, turmeric, onion and usually fish, although it can be made with vegetables instead. It’s served with rice, lentils, pickles and chutneys. Oh, and it’s delicious.
HinduPublic transport is provided by a number of bus companies that operate throughout the island. Express bus services run from Port Louis to the north, south and to the main towns. In the urban regions, timetables run between 5.30am to 8. 00pm. In rural areas, buses tend to run between 6.30am and 6.30pm.
You can easily hop in a taxi for some independent travel. All taxis have a yellow square box indicating their route on both sides of their car doors and a taxi sign on top. Taxis are available at the airport and at hotels. They can also be found at bus stations.
Several companies and local tour operators offer car, bicycle and scooter rental services at reasonable prices. It is important to note that Mauritians drive on the left-hand side of the road.
You can easily traverse the different parts of the island in a car or on a scooter.
The historical centre of the city, the Place D’Armes is the main, palm-lined square that links the capital’s port to the Government House.
The statue of the French governor Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais – one of the founding fathers of Mauritius – can be found at the entrance of Place D’Armes.
Built in the time of the Governor Nicholas de Maupin (1729-1735), this splendid building is one of the oldest in Port Louis Government House is one of the oldest buildings in Port-Louis.
Built in the 19th Century, this timeless municipal theatre is one of the oldest in the Indian Ocean. It is decorated in a classic London theatre style and seats around 600 people.
Situated on a hill overlooking the city and the harbour, this citadel-like structure was built by the British in 1835 to observe potential riots in Port Louis before the abolition of slavery. Today, it hosts shows and concerts from both local and visiting artists from all over the world.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Aapravasi Ghat – or ‘immigration depot’ in Hindi – pays tribute to the thousands of indentured labourers who arrived in Mauritius from India after the abolition of slavery and eventually settled in the country.
Mauritius, with its know-how in sugarcane cultivation and cane manufacture forged over more than three and a half centuries, has since 1978, through continous innovation, developed a range of special unrefined sugars, each "crafted" into valuable ingredients for both household and industrial usage
The hotel offers a snack bar/deli. A bar/lounge is on site where guests can unwind with a drink. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast. An Internet point is located on site and high-speed wireless Internet access is complimentary.